My salary payments and that of leaders allowance has always been public knowledge and these payments were not negotiated by me or the current opposition TD’s and date back to previous government administrations.
I have always said payments to politicians are extremely high in Ireland and should be reformed as a priority of government reform and I have always stated this publicly and it is not something I agree with in principle but that is the system I find myself in. As chairperson of the Members Interests Committee in the Dail I am entitled to an increase in salary of €9500 that I have refused because I believe that TDs are well enough paid as it is.
I have never said I can’t pay the proposed household tax based on my current income. I have said this from day one of the campaign but what I do know is such a large portion of Donegal people and nationwide simply can’t pay it based on household incomes and expenditures and it these people I want to give a voice to in Leinster House.
On the assertion that the €5 is a membership fee this is wholly incorrect, it is in fact to create a fund that in the case that legal fees are incurred by persons who may down the line face a legal challenge for non-payment, this fund will be there to support these people on costs and if and when the campaign achieves its aims and the charge is reversed or scrapped when people just don’t pay it in a ground swell in large numbers, then the €5 will be refunded to every person who paid it.
And before people think I’m not answering the obvious question i.e. “Why not give the leaders allowance back?” That is just a ‘Spin’ to make headlines. “Give it back to the current government to give it to Anglo or more bank bail outs, while they close hospital beds and home help hours? I think not; the money would be safer kept in my capable hands until I see a competent re-structuring of government expenditure.”
Thomas Pringle TD, Donegal South West
* The original article appeared in the Irish Examiner.Tags: